My mother is well.
Right now she is feisty, happy, fulltothebrimbursting with joie de vivre and laughter and energy and positivity and smiles.
I'm always afraid to say it out loud: my mum's well.
Afraid I will tempt fate. Afraid that Depression will overhear me, misinterpret my delight as complacency. And clamber back in.
Hah! You thought you'd got rid of me forever!
We are on holiday together. Mum and I. We shop and eat out and drink wine and she outdoes me in her exuberance.
Depression's never far away when it's been around this long. It's there at the breakfast table in her dose of Efexor; it's there come bedtime in the shape of another slimline pill.
It's why I'm afraid to say it out loud: my mum's well.
It's there because she has a scheduled appointment with her psychiatrist.
What will you tell him? I want to know.
That I am well, she says, and she smiles.
Depression has not taught me to be afraid of my mother's happiness. It has taught me to grab it with both hands and manipulate every last delicious moment out of it.